McDougall Cottage's garden reflects James Baird's passion for spring flowers and nostalgia for his Scottish homeland. A 1950s newspaper article describes that James ordered primrose seed from England. He started the plants by the hundreds in flats on the rear sun porch, and then planted them among daffodils in the garden.

On the east side of the Cottage, the garden originally extended to the Grand River before flood-protecting berms were constructed following the devastating flood of the river in 1974.